Lyft, Inc. – the popular ride hailing service featuring the iconic pink moustache – is facing a second class action lawsuit in California alleging violations under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”).
The complaint alleges that Lyft sent unwanted and unsolicited text messages to cellphones using an automated dialing system without first obtaining express written consent from consumers, as required by the TCPA. The plaintiff allegedly received two unsolicited text messages from Lyft – the first instructing him to download the company’s mobile app and the second containing a link to the app store download page.
Lyft is no stranger to TCPA actions over its auto-dialer system. Earlier this year, a California federal judge denied Lyft’s motion to dismiss a class action accusing the company of spamming prospective drivers with text messages in violation of the TCPA. Before that, in September 2015, the FCC notified Lyft that it violated the TCPA by requiring users to consent to receive automated text messages in order to use its services. In the citation, the FCC said it found that Lyft (1) unlawfully conditioned consumers’ ability to use Lyft’s services on their agreement to receive marketing text messages, and (2) illegally circumvented the FCC’s disclosure requirements for prior express written consent.
TAKEAWAY: Companies must have a consumer’s “prior express written consent” for all autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing/advertising calls or texts to wireless numbers. Before implementing text message-based marketing programs, companies should review and update their policies and compliance programs to ensure that they obtain this consent, and that consumers are given an opt-out from those promotional communications.